Last Caress :: Reprinted in Quail Bell

Listen :: The Misfits :: Last Caress 

Last Caress

                   
    A soggy couch flipped
             on its arm
                  the   only   boost
                       to a broken window
       hidden around back
                        of the hotel.
                 Finger tips scrape
          the ledge
                 arms shake as I pull myself up.
            The rot of stagnant urine suffocates
                  before I’m through the window.

From the mezzanine I look                  
                down on the lobby                                                               
              stripped – the gold leafing               
                      pilfered, oak banisters hang     
                pieces  splintered                                         
              on the cracked marble floor
          caked with dirt, charred garbage,                                               
        black soot, ornate pillars decaying                                                      
     from water damage.          
                                I remember Café Metropolis, the stage,
                                          the couches, the chessboard tables,
                                          the magazine racks overflowing with zines,
                                                   the clouds painted on the ceiling…
Glass crunches     
   soggy cardboard squishes                                                                
as I climb the stairs.                                                                                
                                          The dirt ground into the grout,                        
                                                     the hallway lined with kids,
                                                         a table covered in stickers …                                                                             
The door to the roof                                                                               
  rusted off its hinges,                                                                                   
      the bottom impaled
    into the concrete.     
                                                    Sweaty kids moshing
                                                                   with black eyes…                                                
I stand at the corner
               of the roof staring down
   at Market and River streets                                               
               the sign, HOTEL  STERLING,                                                                          
                     towers behind me,
                stoic against the neglect.                         
                                           The fourteen year old girl
                                                  in Jnco jeans and blue streaks in her hair…                                                            
I lean against
     the bottom of the G  
        as the wind screams through the gaps
  of the huge metal letters…       
                                                           …our lives
                                                                embedded into those floors
                                                                           and soaked into those walls.

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